Sceptic tanks: the Stalinoid left’s irrational hatred of Europe

August 23, 2007 at 10:08 pm (elections, Europe, Human rights, Jim D, left, politics, stalinism)

It’s not my intention here, to discuss either the Philip Lawrence murder case, or the arguments for (or against) a referendum on the European Union reform treaty: both are important issues, but are not the issue at hand.

What I want to discuss is the Stalinoid “left”‘s enduring and totally irrational obsession with all things European, and in particular, with the European Union – and the way they will twist and distort any issue into an anti-EU perspective. The Lawrence case and the reform treaty referendum argument are – in that context – merely the two latest examples of the reactionary madness of the Europhobic Stalinists.

Item: the Lawrence case: we all  should  have immense sympathy with the feeings of Mrs Lawrence about the decision to allow her husband’s killer to stay in the UK , if and when he is released under licence next year. But her understandable anger, exploited by the right-wing tabloid press, cannot be allowed to determine the treatment of  the killer Learco Chindamo, when he is released. Like every other prisoner in Britain, Chindamo is subject to, and protected by, international and EU law, and – in Chindamo’s case – specifically the Human Rights Act, which is based upon  the EU citizen’s directive of 2004, which restricts the deportation of EU citizens.

The Sun and the Tories have seized upon Mrs Lawrence’s anger, in an attempt to embarrass the government and whip up anti-EU sentiment. So what does the Stalinist, fanatically anti-EU Morning Star, have to say? Why, it both denounces the Tories’ playing of the “populist card over rights” (as in the Human Rights Act –JD) and, simultaneously (in its edition of August 22 2007), agrees with the Sun that the EU is to blame. To quote the Star‘s editorial:

“That Mrs Lawrence may believe that an Asylum and immigration Tribunal took its decision not to deport her husband’s killer Learco Chindamo to Italy on the basis of the Human Rights act is understandable.

“For Mr Cameron to pretend likewise and, on that basis, to propose the Act’s abolition is an absurdity.

“He must have known that the tribunal is more likely to have been influenced by European Union legislation on the rights of citizens of any EU member state to live anywhere else in the EU”.  OK, you Morning Stalinists: tell us whether or not you think that that particular piece of EU legislation is a good or a bad thing?

Item: the EU treaty referendum: the same confusion and illogic seems to lie behind the disturbing news that (to quote the Guardian of August 23rd): “The row over whether Gordon Brown should have a referendum  on the EU treaty took a new turn yesterday with trade union leaders joining Conservatives in calling for a public vote on the issue”.

What the hell is going on here? The leaders of the GMB, the RMT, the T&G-bit-of-Unite and UNISON are aligning themselves with the Tories’ anti-European opportunism over the EU treaty: and what principle of working class political interest lies behind that, exactly? Ehhh…well, the British government’s opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, giving workers the right to take industrial action. Ehhh?  Shouldn’t that lead the unions to support the treaty and oppose  the government’s attempts to opt out of parts of  it? Well, the master strategists of the “left” of the British trade union movement think that the way to persuade the British government to opt “in” to the Charter is to campaign for the TUC to launch a “vote no” campaign against the Charter as a whole: follow that logic, if you can. But it just goes to show that the Stalinist and Stalinist-influenced “left” in Britain, is plain stupid and/or irrational when it comes to the EU.


  1. JO said,

    Tell me why being anti-EU is “irrational”?

  2. Jim Denham said,

    That was the purpose of the article: I think it contains at least two examples of why the Stalinist and semi-Stalinist “left”‘s anti-EU hysteria is self-contradictory nonsense. I haven’t gone into the nationalism, at times bordering upon racism, that accompanies it , but have done previously:

  3. chris y said,

    Twas ever thus – when Wilson had hid referendum, the Star ran headlines like “Leave Europe and Join the World” (small prize for anyone who can dream up a more meaningless slogan). But back then, the rationale was that the USSR regarded the EEC as aerious ideological challenge.

    I think this is simply another example of their incapacity for original thought – holding onto 30 year old positions because they always have, like they do with Iraq.

  4. Louisefeminista said,

    Opps… just saw your post Jim. I wrote a very long comment on TWP’s post on youth mentioning the Learco Chindamo case.

    Well, trust the Morning Tank to edge its bets!

    And David Cameron is calling for a “rights and responsibilities” law. Responsibilities for the powerless but no rights.

  5. Jules said,

    But Jim, the charter also incorporates further neo-liberalism. It’s true it codifies rights that workers in other Western European countries already have, but considering Brown’s intention to secure an “opt out” on these articles the best strategy at present is surely to opose the neo-liberal eu constitution whilst campiagning for a scraping of the Thatcherite labour laws?

    I would have thought that you would rather persue the avenue of class struggle to that of relying on EU bureaucrats to hand down better workers rights.

  6. Jim Denham said,

    Jules: the “avenue of class struggle”, as you put it, can only be diverted into reactionary nationalism, by the stupid anti-EU nonsense of the Stalinists and their dupes. The stuff about “neo liberalsim” also lets the British government off the hook, by identifying the driving force behind priavtisation as Europe, rather than the conscious, ideological choice of New Labour. And no-one (or, at least, not me or the AWL), is “relying on EU bureaucrats to hand down better workers; rights”: wer’re just pointing out that opposition to the EU is a diversion, and that – if anything – the EU has a better record on workers’ rights than the British “Labour” government. Geddit now?

  7. Jules said,

    Jim, I’m not arguing against the EU but against the EU constitution drafted by the reactionary rightist Giscard d’Estaing which would codifiy deregulation of public services and deny the right to work. Have you read the document Jim? it;s hardly progressive.

    If the trade unions could muster the power to prevent Brown securing the opt out why could they not just get the government to change the deomest labour law? Better that than vote for a load of neo liberal crap.

  8. Jim Denham said,


    Unions should take a neutral position on the EU, and not let thenselves be drawn into the inevitably nationalistic anti-EU campaign that is a diversion from the real fight against the Uk government. If the unions could “muster the power to prevent Brown securing an opt-out”, they could certainly muster the power to defeat thge UK anti-union laws; a much better use of their time, finances and energy. When will people like you learn that the anti-EU campaign, in all its various manifestations, is a reactionary diversion perpetuated by little-Englanders, Germany-haters, France-haters, senile old Stalinists who still think there’s a USSR to defend, and out-and-out racists. There is simply *nothing* progressive about any aspect of the anti-EU campaign, and unions should steerr well clear of it. Sadly, the “right” unions (and currents within unions) seem to understand this better than a lot of the “left”.

  9. Jules said,

    Again Jim, you’re failing to distinguish between the EU and the EU constitution.

    The EU constitution in its current form would codify a further assault on working class communities. The French have already voted to reject it, in a campiagn who’s main mobelising bloc were socialists and greens and on the basis of protecting social and environmental standards.

    If the British are given the chance to vote on the constitution as it currently stands (the opt out included) being “neutral” isn’t an option. Are you for or against?

    This has nothing to do with being anti european but being against a bosses europe where the larger economies rule over the smaller ones.

  10. Jim Denham said,

    Being neutral is most certainly an option (as it is in any election: don’t vote, or spoil your ballot paper). And that’s the stance that the unions should take as between little-Englandism and the capitalist European project. But for chrissakes don’t perpetuate the myth that little-Englandism is *progressive* vis-a-vis the EU
    Btw: if abstaining wasn’t permissable (though of course it is) a “yes” vote to the constitution would be the progressive, Marxist, position.

  11. Jules said,


    I didn’t say Little Englandism was progressive, I disputed that oposition to a neo-liberal EU could automatically be classified as “Little Englandism”.

    I’d dispute that calling for a yes in this epoch of imperialism would be the progressive Marxist position to adopt. Would make perfect sense for a Thatcherite/Brownite though.

  12. Jim Denham said,

    You don’t appear to understand just how reactionary and anti-working-class the anti-EU campaign, in all its manifestations, is. The campaign aginat the consitution / “reform treaty”is just one example of this, and no compromise should be made to it. I think the Communist Manifesto (especially the bits on “reactionary socialism”) makes the Marxist position clear.
    I wouldconcede, however, that there is a compelling argument to have a referendum: that it was promised in Labour’s manifesto. So, on purely democrtaic grounds, I’d support that: and then argue for abstention.

  13. Jules said,

    “I wouldconcede, however, that there is a compelling argument to have a referendum: that it was promised in Labour’s manifesto. So, on purely democrtaic grounds, I’d support that: and then argue for abstention.”

    Lol, I can see the demonstrations now.

    What do we want?
    the right not to vote
    When do we want it?

    Yes indeed in the day of Karl Marx your position would make perfect sense. What I was arguing was the advent of imperialism and then globalisation and neo-liberalism means that tactics need to be reapraised.

  14. Jules said,

    I see over at the drink soaked trots VP is whinging about Will being mean to him which strikes me as pretty pathetic and hypocritical given that Volty had been encouraging Will to behave in just this manner to other contributers to these comments boxes for the past year or so.

    What’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander eh VP?

  15. Jim Denham said,

    Abstention is never a snappy or sexy position to take; sometimes, however it is the only principled postition to take.: “Neither Washington nor Moscow”, for instance.
    I have no comment to make about VP and Will: let them get on with it.

  16. matewan said,

    Good God Jimbo! Stop digging! You’re unravelling before our eyes man. That’s what happens when you set up a straw man and then proceed to advance your prejudices by resorting to emotionalism, red herrings, hasty generalisations and argumentum ad ignorantiam. Jules has comprehensively stitched you up and you haven’t answered a single point s/he has made other than by hysterical smears against the supposed motives of RMT, GMB et al in defending democracy by calling for referendum on the EU Constitution.

    Two quick points. Firstly, as a non-Trot I didn’t realise that the slogan ‘Neither Washington nor Moscow’ was an example of an abstentionist position, as you imply above. I thought you Trots called it ‘third campism’, or maybe that’s the same thing as abstentionism. I dunno. You fight it out amongst yourselves.

    Secondly and more importantly, you are factually incorrect in your unsubstantiated assertion that: “the Charter of Fundamental Rights, giv[es] workers the right to take industrial action.” and your subsequent false reasoning that this should “lead the unions to support the treaty and oppose the government’s attempts to opt out of parts of it”.

    In fact the the Right to Strike is not guaranteed in Article II-28 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights despite innacurate and misleading precis by the European Trades Union Congress (ETUC) as a means of drumming up support for the Constitution.
    In fact as an accurate reading of the Charter makes clear, the operation of anti-union legislation at national level will not be influenced by the Charter. Although Article II-28 states that workers may ‘take collective action to defend their interests, including strike action’ the Explanation in Declaration 12 – which govern its interpretation – qualifies this by stating: ‘The limits for the exercise of collective action, including strike action, come under national laws and practices, including the question of whether it may be carried out in parallel in several Member States’.

    However, the sting in the tail is something called ‘subsidiarity’. Article II-111(1) directs that “‘the provisions of this Charter are addressed to the institutions, bodies and agencies of the Union (EU) with due regard for the principle of subsidiarity and to the member states only when they are implementing Union law’.

    Due regard for the principle of ‘subsidiarity’ is spelled out in European Court of Justice case law in the following terms ‘… it should be remembered that the requirements flowing from the protection of fundamental rights in the community legal order are also binding on member states when they implement community rules’.

    This means that draconian labour legislation already existing in a member states (such as the UK) can be preserved under the ‘subsidiarity’ clause. The EU can also impose its own additional limits on trade union rights in order to satisfy objectives of ‘general interest’ of the EU as pointed out in Article II-112.

    It’s a win-win situation for business interests and the big corporations as, in any conflict between workers’ rights and EU rules on free movement, the highly pro-unfettered ‘free trade’ and unaccountable European Court of Justice will make the final ruling.

    Of course RMT are correct to call for the British government to make good its 2005 manifesto commitment to hold a referendum and of course the labour movement should campaign for a ‘No’ vote on the EU Constitution.

  17. Bruce said,

    I read the other day that John Redwood had offered to go to the TUC to support the GMB et al campaign for a referendum. Perhaps that should give pause for thought…

  18. matewan said,

    “I read the other day that …” Mmmm. Smear and innuendo ‘Bruce’. Shouldn’t you be over here.

  19. Clive said,

    ‘Matewan’, perhaps you could stop using the moniker of a wonderful, internationalist movie.

  20. Gabriel said,


    as you will know from visiting my blog ‘An Unrepentant Communist’…..I guess I would get the epithet ‘Stalinoid’ from you too, and I certainly recall you throwing that accusation at me in numerous discussions in that pub in Moseley where all the lefties would wait in eager anticipation of Stu’s arrival with his bag of papers for the inevitable ribald slagging. ..can’t recollect that pubs name though, is it still there?
    However on this point I find myself in total agreement with you, I simply can not understand the CPB and closely allied Labour Lefts ‘thing’ about the EU. I would say that the EU has probably stymied and diluted the most reactionary inclinations of the British ruling circles, and this fact especially related to workers rights at work and minimum wages and maternity rights etc is partly responsible for the Rights unremitting hatred of all things connected with the EU.My simple rule of thumb is that any institution which evokes such hatred and scorn from the ruling circles of the UK can not be all wrong. I must say that living here in Ireland, the absence of childish and chauvinist anti-EU sentiment is a welcome change from the unrelenting bile which affects opinion, of even quite moderate people, in Britain. The anti-EU thing is closely allied to racism, and in some cases the ‘stalinoid’ left notably the CPB-ML have lurched into that territory with disturbing results eg this quote which would not be out of place in the BNP’s rag

    “Immigration up, wages down
    The report adds that immigration also acts to keep wages down – nice for employers, bad for the working class: “Exceptionally strong labour force growth, driven by high immigration and rising participation, is outstripping employment growth, pushing the unemployment rate up. The resulting labour market slack should help to ensure that the anticipated fourth quarter spike in headline inflation does not push up inflationary pressures.” The OECD also notes that the wave of new immigrants has put greater demands on limited housing stock”

  21. matewan said,

    On August 26, 2007 at 10:43 am
    Clive said;

    “‘Matewan’, perhaps you could stop using the moniker of a wonderful, internationalist movie.”


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